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A Study on Rhythm in a Passage to India

Author: YangFen
Tutor: LiuMingJing
School: Central South University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: A Passage to India rhythm image symbol plots the prefatory chapter
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2009
Downloads: 87
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Edward Morgan Forster, a prominent critic, novelist, essayist in the 20th century, is considered as a significant figure in English literary circle. In his long life, Forster wrote only six novels. Because Forster is humanist, connection and exploration of human relationships are the central themes in his novels. A Passage to India is generally considered as Forster’s best novel as well as a classic in the twentieth century English literature. A Passage to India, which is set in India, discusses connection between the two different cultures and reflects Forster’s strong desire for connection between the East and the West.Not only does Forster show his extraordinary talents in terms of novelistic creation, but also makes a great contribution to literary theory. In particular, his Aspects of the Novel provides some distinctive perspectives to interpret novels for readers, in which the view on rhythm is one of the most prominent criticisms.Different from foregone concept of rhythm, rhythm can be divided into two types in Forster’s sense. One is the "easy" rhythm which is embodied by means of repetition plus variation. This kind of rhythm mainly is embodied through repetition of leitmotif or variation of leitmotif which readers can find in many novels. The other is the difficult rhythm, which readers are not easy to find in many novels. In any case, Forster’s new explanation on rhythm provides the readers with a new perspective in the process of analyzing the novel. Repetition, the most important element of rhythm, can create beauty and stitch the novel together internally in his sense. What is more important, it will be of great help to understanding the theme of the work.There are many aspects in the novel coinciding with Forster’s theory of rhythm. Especially, many aspects are related to the first kind of rhythm. Besides, the thesis simply discusses on the second type of rhythm from the structure of the novel. The thesis analyzes Forster’s the two kinds of rhythm, in particular, the first type of rhythm, so as to understand its thematic significance.This thesis is composed of six parts. The first part introduces Forster and the novel A Passage to India, the researches on him and the novel home and abroad, the theory of rhythm, the perspective, the purpose and feasibility of the present research. Chapter One traces how Forster usesthe two main repeated words--"muddle" and "mystery"--to showhow rhythm is realized and how people attempt to find a feasible way to realize connection in face of varied disadvantageous elements. Chapter Two analyzes how rhythm is realized through the repetition of images such as wasp and snake, and symbols such as water, fire and echo. By using plenty of repeated images and symbols, the novel shows a sense of visual beauty as well as a profound thematic significance. Chapter Three expounds how rhythm is realized through the structure of the novel and reiteration of plots such as verbal patterns and incidents. Besides, the reiteration of plots makes the structure of the novel unite tightly and mirrors human strong desire for connection. Chapter Four studies on the "difficult" rhythm from two terms: one is similarity of the three prefatory chapters, the other is the close relationship among the three parts. The last part concludes the significance, impact and inspirations of the thesis.By means of the "easy" rhythm, rhythm not only makes the novel possess a kind of vitality and a sense of visual beauty, but also reveals the theme of the novel. By means of the difficult rhythm, it can be seen from this that rhythm is useful not only for organizing the structure of the novel but also for making the many unrelated plots of the novel unite tightly. The study on A Passage to India from the perspective of rhythm would affirm the academic significance with consequent practices providing more comprehensive understanding of Forster and his novel A Passage to India.

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